Skip to main content

Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

See other formats

are certainly a legitimate Government and also have the highest ground for
legitimacy, that it is a Government which are taken for granted and taken
as a matter of course by those for whom they are speaking.
" The second reason for saying that the Polish Government is the legiti-
mate government of Poland and the Lublin Government is not, is, in the
words of the Prime Minister, which he quoted again to-day. I do not think
I can find the exact words, but I think I can quote them fairly exactly. He
said : 'If only the Poles had taken the advice we tendered them at the
beginning of this year, the additional complication produced by the forma-
tion of the Lublin Committee would not have arisen.5 I think those words
are near enough. He said those in October or February, and he repeated
them to-day. It seems that the Prime Minister has no doubt that the whole
thing is bogus, artificial, fictitious. There is not the least doubt about it.
cc What;, in those circumstances, becomes the duty of His Majesty's
Government ? I will tell the House as plainly as I can . . . The duty
of His Majes-7's Government is to make quite certain, at very nearly what-
ever risk thit the world knows that whatever regime is set up in Poland, if
it is not otyiously on the face of it a wholly independent regime., and what-
ever frontiers are drawn for Poland, if those frontiers are in any respect
unfavourable to Poland, that those unfavourable decisions have not been
facilitate^ by us ; and, above all, that we have not been parties to any plan
for usiig the Lublin Committee as a lever for squeezing, putting a squeeze
on3 tlv Polish Government, to whom we are bound by every tie of honour,
or on<3ie Polish people, for whom our hearts must, even in Wolverharnpton,
contftue to bleed."
ftdss Rathbone (Independent,  Combined English  Universities) : I shall
no* speak long, and I shall not speak at all on the vexed question of Polish
fenders.    My opinions on that subject are forming themselves only slowly,
gid I should not be justified in inflicting them on the House . . . The issues
. want to raise really concern whether 100,000 or several hundred thousand
people may die of something like starvation.    I want to raise two issues
which I approach purely from a humanitarian point of view.    The first is
the issue of the deportations from Poland and the Russian parts of Poland
to the U.S.S.R., and I shall give the facts as presented to me by those who
have studied the question very closely, both British and Polish people*
But, mark you, I do not take responsibility for the accuracy of all these facts.
The figures may have been, and I think, probably have been, exaggerated;
certainly they are only approximate, and the descriptions of hardship which
have been brought before me are possibly also exaggerated, seeing that they
must be mostly based on hearsay or through very slow-moving underground
channels.    But I do submit that, making allowance for maximum exaggera-
tion possible, the whole position is decidedly disquieting, and we should
be very careful lest we take any responsibility for acquiescing over it,
"As to deportations, there are two periods to which I wish to refer, the
earlier date being from February, 1940, to June, 1941, at the time when
Russia was forced into the war by German aggression. I believe it is not
disputed by anyone that during that period vast numbers of Poles and other
people besides—the latter I do not intend to discuss—were deported to
distant parts of the U.S.S.R. The alleged figures given to me are that some
880,000 civilians plus a great number of prisoners-of-war—and also great
numbers who were forcibly mobilised—in all well over 1,000,000 persons,
were affected. The civilians included several hundred thousands of women
and children. They were sent to various distant parts of European Russia,
to Siberia and to Central Asiatic Republics and elsewhere, and, owing to
the haste with which they were sent off, they were sent with exceedingly